New Year and Vaccine Update

It has been a very busy few weeks on the Lutheran Campus and greater Chautauqua community as a whole. The holiday season is now behind us. Although it gave us time to reflect and appreciate all that we have and maybe took for granted in the past, unfortunately it left a significant amount of positive Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in its wake.

As of this writing, Chautauqua County has just under 700 active cases of COVID-19 a few short days into the New Year. While this number and the immediate future may look grim, there is hope on the horizon as vaccines have already made their way to us and will be available to the public soon.

To briefly touch on that, all three levels of care and residency on our campus fall into different vaccination groups according to federal and state governments. As a summary:

  • Residents and staff of the Lutheran Home and Rehabilitation Center who elected to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had their first clinic on December 28 with two others scheduled soon. No adverse reactions or symptoms were reported from anyone after the first doses.
  • Residents and staff of the Hultquist Place Assisted Living Program will receive their clinic dates and information next week (the week of January 11).
  • Residents of the Edgewood Communities are considered part of the general population since they live on their own without the need of hands-on care or services. These residents are able to get a vaccine when they’re made available to the general population.

86 residents and over 70 employees in the nursing home were vaccinated during the nursing home’s first clinic. Enthusiasm was high and everyone was excited to be part of history in the making! Though this does not mean we can open our doors to visitors immediately, it does mean we’re heading in the right direction. We expect updated visitation guidance for the nursing home and assisted living program to be released soon as vaccines become more widely available to us and the community. Until then, our team continues to address concerns as they arise as well as plan for the future when visitation restrictions may be lifted.

Speaking of addressing concerns, I want to make sure I give credit where it is due to our staff working around the clock on infection prevention measures. Like all other facilities across the state, the nursing home and assisted living program have had routine drop-ins during this pandemic by the NYS Department of Health to check our infection prevention protocols. I’m proud to say that in the most recent visits to both facilities, we passed with flying colors (as expected). Compared to some of the stories you read about micro clusters, outbreaks, and failed infection prevention measures at other facilities in the region, our successes in this area is the sole reason we’ve been able to identify, isolate, and correct COVID-19 infections as they arise.

I know that our employees’ hard work is not lost on you. We created an Employee Holiday Meal Fund through the Lutheran Foundation in November for resident families to provide “pick-me-up” meals and treats for our staff. You donated over $2,000 to this fund through the holidays as well as pre-packaged meal and snack items from area businesses. The gratitude you expressed through your donations, phone calls, and emails were greatly appreciated.

Although it isn’t the same, heated outdoor window visits, video calls, phone calls remain available to all of our residents and their family and friends. To schedule these with your loved ones, please use the following:

LHRC Units: (A1) 716-665-8164, (B1) 716-665-8115, (A2) 716-665-8165, and (B2) 716-665-8118
HP Front Desk: 716-720-9610

Thank you for bearing with us during all of this. We’re excited about the future and hope you will consider getting vaccinated to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community. We’ve included a brief FAQ about the COVID-19 vaccines for you to review. It is the same information we shared with our residents and staff.

Don’t forget to wash your hands, wear a mask, and socially distance when you can. Happy New Year from all of us at Lutheran. Here’s to a healthier and happier new year.

Symptomatic LHRC Residents Tested for COVID-19 – 60
LHRC Residents Tested for COVID-19 – ALL*
LHRC Residents Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 0
Former COVID-19 Positive LHRC Residents Recovered – 7

Symptomatic HP Residents Tested for COVID-19 – 30
HP Residents Tested for COVID-19 – ALL*
HP Residents Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 5
Former COVID-19 Positive HP Residents Recovered – 3

Employees Tested Weekly for COVID-19 (State Mandated) – ALL

LHRC Employees Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 6
Former COVID-19 Positive LHRC Employees Recovered – 17

HP Employees Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 6
Former COVID-19 Positive HP Employees Recovered – 7


Tom Holt
President and CEO